Aronson Cello Festival

Aronson at Piano.JPG

Aronson Cello

festival (ACF)

june 2020

Welcome to the upcoming seventh festival honoring Lev Aronson.


We are pleased to announce the seventh Aronson Cello Festival (ACF) will take place in Cleveland, Ohio in June of 2020. And, that’s just for starters!

In the past year, we recruited and formed a national board of nine accomplished leaders in the arts ranging from an associate principal cellist of one of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras, to a leading conductor and music director, respected teachers, recording artists, an expert luthier and business mind, photography artists, even an Emmy Award winning storyteller and Harvard MBA.

Over the past six successful, consecutive festivals held in Dallas, the vision has evolved. But, the heart and soul of the rebranded Aronson Cello Festival (ACF) remains. It’s about a teacher and virtuoso cellist named Lev Aronson. Maestro Aronson centered his philosophy of teaching upon vocal qualities of the instrument. His prodigious intellect and mighty heart went beyond the notes and markings on the page. He transformed lives even to this day—decades after his passing.

We honor Maestro Aronson as a survivor of World War II—after enduring incomprehensible suffering in two death camps, Lev Aronson made his way to the United States. Once a student of the legendary Gregor Piatigorsky, Maestro Aronson served as principal cellist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He turned darkness into light. His cello students became a veritable list of who’s who in the cello world. Today, they still carry on his vision of generosity, community and humanity.

One of Mr. Aronson’s last students was the cellist Brian Thornton who founded the Aronson Cello Festival (ACF) to honor his teacher: “He was an artist who knew how to reach inside a person and gaze into the soul. Like many of his other students, I'm conscious of carrying on his legacy, carrying it with me every day, in my mind and in my heart.”

Our next festival in Cleveland spans three to four days of special programming filled with memorable performances and world class artists—in addition to innovative and interactive speakers and sessions called “LevTalks” that will inspire, inform, reflect upon, provoke, challenge and confirm the modern world of classical music around us. In this time of rapid change with the arts under siege, we must find ways to connect and embrace our community.

There is still time to get involved. Join us.

Come share what will be a remarkable gathering in Cleveland in June of 2020.

Thank you.

Brian Thornton | Founding Artistic Director

Ty Kim | Inaugural Board Chairman, The Aronson Cello Festival (ACF)


What is undoubted is that in America, [Lev Aronson] became a legendary teacher.
— Richard Sennett, The Wall Street Journal (August 13, 2009) Reviewing “The Lost Cellos of Lev Aronson” (Atlas & Co.) by Frances Brent
A profound story—through war and peace—of survival, humanity and the enduring power of music.
— Ty Kim, Los Angeles Emmy Award winning story teller “Tell Me A Story About Lev Aronson” A series of short films

connect with us!



Kol Nidrei opus 47 by Max Bruch


Music Honoring

Lev Aronson

The Lev Aronson Memorial Concert 2009 - Prayer

Hassidic Dance

The Lev Aronson Memorial Concert 2009 - OPUS 38

Mi Pnei Ma (Why?) 


Festival participants please register for the Aronson Cello Festival here: